If you are a fan of Turkish cuisine, then you are probably just as obsessed with kebabs as we are. There are several types of kebab in Turkey. Let’s learn the most famous Turkish Kebab Recipes below!
The most popular Turkish food is kebab! The best kebabs in Turkey are always in casual restaurants, so if you happen to visit Turkey, don’t look for luxurious places to eat kebab. They serve kebabs with several amazing side dishes on the side.
The kebab cuisine, as we like to call it, has a ton of different types of kebab ranging in flavor, cooking methods, and even the way they are served. But in Turkey, kebab or kabob is considered to be any type of skewered meat that has been cooked over charcoal.
Today, we have compiled a list of the best Turkish kebab recipes for you! These have extremely authentic flavors that will make you feel like you are busy eating a kebab in Turkey at this very moment! But let's learn more about kebab before moving onto the list.
What is Kebab in Turkey?
A Turkish kebab refers to a traditional method of preparing and cooking meat in Turkey. To make these kebabs, one starts by selecting quality meats, typically beef, lamb, or sometimes chicken. This meat is then marinated in a mix of special spices, herbs, and other ingredients to enhance its flavor.
There are two common ways to cook the marinated meat:
- Skewering: The meat is threaded onto long sticks or metal skewers. Often, between the meat pieces, you'll find chunks of vegetables like bell peppers, tomatoes, or onions. This skewered meat is then grilled over an open flame until it's perfectly cooked.
- Rotisserie: Some kebabs, especially the 'döner' type, are cooked on a large vertical rotating pole. The outer layer gets crispy as it cooks, and thin slices are shaved off to serve.
In Turkey, dishes that don't involve skewers or a rotisserie might still be classified as kebabs too. For example, 'Tas Kebabi' is a stew-like dish with meat simmered in a tomato-based sauce until tender.
You will find a variety of homemade Turkish kebab recipes below. All of these recipes are easy to make and will leave your guests begging for more!
Ever tried a lamb kebab that's super juicy and packed with flavor? The magic lies in a special marinade. Imagine tender lamb bits marinated in creamy yogurt, spiced up with a mix of aromatic seasonings. This combo ensures every bite is bursting with taste!
Once they've had a good soak, they're ready to hit the grill. The end result? Perfectly grilled lamb shish kebabs that'll make everyone satisfied.
You can also incorporate any vegetable onto your lamb shish kebab, and personally, we love adding some roasted peppers and tomatoes.
If you love lamb, you might want to see our Turkish lamb stew called guvec too.
Doner is a popular kebab that has taken the world by storm! It is a Turkish kebab that is made from lamb, beef, or chicken that slowly rotates on a vertical spit while being roasted. The meat is then carefully sliced paper thin and served in lavash bread or flat bread bazlama.
Turkish Döner Kebab is made from meat like beef or lamb. It's put in bread with some vegetables like onions, parsley and tomatoes. It can also be served on top of Turkish rice.
Middle Eastern Lamb Shawarma uses lamb meat. It has strong flavors from different spices. It's wrapped in flatbread with things like pickles and a tasty garlic sauce. Sometimes, they add fries too.
Greek Gyro uses pork or chicken. It has its own mix of spices. It's also put in pita breads with veggies and a cool sauce called tzatziki.
Iskender kebab is a type of doner kebab, but only much more advanced. Where it differs is the way it is served.
The best Iskender kebabs are found in Bursa city. If you aren’t planning on visiting anytime soon, you can try our homemade iskender kebab recipe that is very close to the real thing!
While döner is often associated with beef or lamb, there's a delicious poultry twist: Chicken Döner.
It is all about layers of marinated chicken stacked onto a vertical rotisserie. As it slowly spins around and cooks, the outer layers become crispy and golden. When you order, thin slices are shaved off, giving you a mix of tender, juicy inner meat and those irresistibly crispy edges.
What sets chicken döner apart is its lighter taste compared to the beef or lamb versions, but it's by no means short on flavor. Marinated in a blend of yogurt, spices, and herbs, every bite is a burst of savory goodness.
Whether wrapped in a soft flatbread with salad and sauces, or served on a plate with rice and salads, chicken döner is definitely a hit.
One of the first things in kebab cuisine you have to learn is how to make kebab with chicken. To make Turkish chicken kebabs, you need to use chopped chicken thighs and marinate it.
The best option is to make these on the grill but you can make them in the oven too. They are often served with roasted green peppers, red peppers, and roasted tomatoes.
If you want to learn how to use chicken to make Turkish kebab, check out our chicken kebab recipe in oven! We use an extraordinarily delicious chicken marinade that contains simple spices, milk, and olive oil.
Also, check out our stuffed whole chicken recipe.
This is our favorite Turkish kebab. The ground lamb Adana kebab recipe originated in the South-East of Turkey in a town called Adana. It is an extremely spicy ground meat kebab that has been packed tightly on wide metal skewers.
We use flat wooden skewers in our homemade version and they work fine too. To make Urfa kebab, you can use the recipe for Adana kebab and simply use less hot spices.
If you want to learn how to make Adana kebabs, we have just the recipe for you! This is an authentic Turkish kebab recipe that only uses 4 ingredients!
7. Kofta Kebab
Kofta kebab is another category of minced lamb kebabs that are also sometimes made with a combination of ground beef and lamb meat.
They are combined with a wide variety of spices and packed onto wooden skewers in sausage shapes before being grilled.
Kofta kebabs are way easier to make than you might think. Just use your regular grill or oven grill to roast the kebabs on the skewer.
What's cool is every place puts its own spin on kofta. While some might toss in cumin or coriander, others might go wild with mint and garlic.
They're the ultimate BBQ addition or even just a weekend kitchen experiment.
We Turks use eggplants in a ton of kebab recipes. A classic eggplant kebab (patlican kebabı) is usually made with thick eggplant slices and either chopped lamb meat or meatballs. We also like to make it in the oven, but authentic eggplant kebabs are grilled over charcoal.
You can use our easy eggplant kebab recipe in the oven to bring the joy of this scrumptious kebab into your kitchen.
Also check out our karniyarik recipe!
This isn’t the same as a kofta kebab, but you will find them in any Turkish restaurant. Almost every Turkish household has its very own version of meatballs or as we call them kofte. It has always been the favorite of kids! That’s why a typical Turkish mom always has some kofte in the freezer.
Turkish meatballs are traditionally made from ground meat (often beef or lamb) combined with spices (ground black pepper, cumin, thyme and salt), onions, and breadcrumbs.
They are shaped into balls or patties and are usually grilled, fried, or simmered in sauces. Köfte is a staple in Turkish cuisine and can be found in various regional varieties throughout Turkey, each with its unique blend of ingredients and preparation methods.
Kofte is the term used to describe Turkish meatballs that can be cooked over a grill, on the stovetop, or inside the oven. You can serve these with a hearty white bean salad piyaz.
It is definitely a life saver during weekdays if you know how to make Turkish kofte and freeze some for later use.
Turkish Kebab Meat
In Turkey, lamb is considered as the best meat to make a kebab recipe because it is known as the softest meat. But it really depends on what kebab you want to make. So you can make lamb kebabs, beef kebabs, chicken kebabs and even liver shish kebabs (ciğer şiş). Traditionally, pieces of lamb tail fat are also included in kebabs for a richer flavor.
To make a Turkish beef kebab recipe or a chicken kebab recipe, you should marinate the meat. On the other hand, good quality lamb meat might not need to be marinated.
Also, ground lamb, ground beef and ground chicken are often used to make different types of kebabs. If you want to make a good lamb kebab recipe from Turkish cuisine, you should find the best lamb meat from your butcher. So ask for the freshest meat.
When making a Turkish ground beef kebab recipe, we prefer medium fat content. The fat content helps add moisture to your kebab and prevents it from drying out too much. Whatever kebab you decide to make, a combination of spices is almost a must in Turkey.
Kebab Spices In Turkey
Original Turkish kebab and spices go hand in hand! They are even served on the table if anyone wants to sprinkle over some more! Although it is super easy to prepare your own kebab or kofte spice mix, you can find these seasoning products of big brands at Turkish markets too.
For classic skewers (regardless of the type of meat used), paprika, chili powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, thyme and oregano are amongst the most popular.
For Adana kebab, pul biber (red pepper flakes), Aleppo pepper, isot pepper, or urfa pepper can all be incorporated. They add a very unique flavor and are also often incorporated into kofta kebab recipes.
When seasoning any shish lamb kebab recipe, salt, pepper, and paprika are building blocks, commonly accompanied by thyme. And when you are making any type of liver kebab, cumin is a must-add!
You can play around with some of these popular Turkish kebab spices and create your very own flavor profile!
Not every kebab recipe needs a marinade. A great rule of thumb is to check what type of meat the kebab is made from. Ground meat kebabs do not need any type of marinade.
Lamb shish kebabs, beef kebabs, and chicken shish kebabs that are made using chopped meat (not ground) taste way better when marinated.
We either use a milk marinade or yogurt marinade to make traditional Turkish kebabs. Besides yogurt or milk, we add olive oil, and a mix of kebab spices to the mixture. To make the kebabs taste a bit richer, we sometimes add tomato paste too. Even for more flavor, you can mash a garlic clove and add it into the mixture.
Marinating the meat overnight is the best but if you don't have enough time for it, add a little lemon juice in the marinade mixture and wait for at least 30 minutes.
Turkish kebabs are amazing on their own, but pairing them with the right accompaniments can take them to the next level. Here are some popular and traditional options to serve with kebabs in Turkey:
- Pilaf: Bulgur pilav or rice pilav complements the richness of the kebabs. These can be served on the same plate with kebabs. The grains soak up the flavors and doubles the joy.
- Grilled Vegetables: Bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants are commonly grilled alongside the kebabs. You will also see roasted onion salad or roasted garlic cloves, which will add a nice sweetness to your meal. They all provide a fresh and smoky contrast to the meat. Check out our veggie kabobs if you don't have a grill.
- Salads: The popular Turkish salad, 'Coban Salatasi', a shepherd's salad and piyaz (bean salad) a great choice. Also, red onion salad flavored with sumac is a staple on a kebab platter.
- Breads: Flatbreads like 'lavas' or 'pide' are often served to wrap the kebabs or to soak up the flavorsome juices.
- Yogurt and Dips: Yogurt, either plain or seasoned with herbs and garlic, is a popular accompaniment. Dips like 'Haydari', which is a thick yogurt with garlic and dill, or 'Acili Ezme', a spicy tomato and pepper blend, can be served on the side.
- Pickles: Turkish pickles, or 'Tursu', ranging from cucumbers to peppers and even cabbage, provide a tangy contrast to the savory kebabs. Check out our Armenian cucumber pickles!
- Drinks: Traditional drinks like 'Ayran', a salty yogurt beverage, or şalgam suyu can be enjoyed alongside kebabs to complete the meal. And at kebab restaurants, Turkish tea is always served for free to end the meal.
And in most restaurants, kebabs are served after cig kofte has been served as a starter.
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As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
Best Turkish Kebab Recipes
If you are a kebab lover and want to learn more about the world-famous Turkish kebabs, this post is for you! We've complied a list of most famous kebabs in Turkey. You can even find what to serve them. celebrating the rich flavors and traditions of Turkey. As a special treat, we're also sharing a delicious recipe for the iconic shish kebab.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoonlemon juice
- ¼ cupolive oil
- 1 teaspoonblack pepper
- ½ teaspooncumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoonsalt
- 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed o fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 bell peppers, 2 red and 2 yellow, cut into 1-inch pieces
- In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients for the marinade. Add in the lamb pieces and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight or at least for 1 hour.
- Thread the lamb cubes and pepper pieces on skewers.
- Light a grill and place the skewers and throw some fresh rosemary leaves over them. Grill the skewers over high heat, turning every 1 minute to cook all sides. They are done within 7 minutes.
- Serve with grilled vegetables or fresh salad.
- Choice of Lamb: Always go for boneless lamb leg or shoulder cuts. These parts are tender and flavorful, perfect for grilling.
- Yogurt Marinade: Use thick yogurt for the marinade. Greek yogurt is a great option as it sticks well to the meat and provides a creamy texture.
- Marinating Time: While you can marinate for just an hour, allowing the lamb to sit in the marinade overnight will enhance the flavors and tenderize the meat even further.
- Cutting Lamb: Ensure all lamb cubes are roughly the same size. This ensures they cook evenly.
- Skewer Tip: If using wooden skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before skewering. This prevents them from burning on the grill.
- Grilling: Ensure your grill is well-preheated. A hot grill helps to sear the outside of the lamb, trapping the juices inside.
- Resting: Once off the grill, let the kebabs rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy bite.
- Leftovers: If you have any leftovers, they're great in wraps or salads the next day. Ensure they're stored in an airtight container and consumed within 2-3 days.
- Serving Size: 4 skewers
- Calories: 683
- Sugar: 9.3 g
- Sodium: 755.6 mg
- Fat: 48.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.9 g
- Protein: 45.8 g
- Cholesterol: 162.5 mg
Keywords: Turkish kebab